Odessa Non-Proliferation Summer School “Global nuclear and missile proliferation and its impact on Ukraine”

On August 18-23, the Institute of Social Sciences, Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University and Swedish Radiation Safety Authority conducted IV Odessa Non-proliferation Summer School. Each School has special emphasis to the various aspects of non-proliferation issues. This year the School was dedicated to the problematic of nuclear and missile proliferation and its impact on Ukraine. Thirty two young specialists, students, PhD candidates from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Moldova, and Georgia gathered in Odessa for a week full of lectures and discussions.


Odessa Non-Proliferation Summer School participants

Before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine used to posses on its territory the third largest strategic nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. When the last portion of nuclear warheads was sent to the Russian Federation for dismantling, Ukraine converted its status into a non-nuclear. Since that time Ukraine is utilizing some parts of nuclear weapons production chain specifically for peaceful purposes. Currently, Ukraine has robust missile design and construction capabilities, particularly in airspace sphere. Moreover, the discussion of the current situation around Ukrainian missile programme, trends, historical developments, as well as sharing international historical and up to date experience in missile production are of great importance for Ukrainian and international communities. Odessa Non-proliferation Summer School was a perfect venue for conducting such discussion.

Experts from Germany, Austria, Sweden, and Ukraine delivered useful and knowledge-based presentations on various aspects of nuclear and missile proliferation.

Gennady Varyanychko (Yuzhnoye Design Office) presented his personal insight on current situation with Ukrainian missile industry. He emphasized a wide potential of Ukrainian missile sector and prominent capabilities in order to play an important role in the relevant international market.

Ukraine in the world’s missiles industry and the system of Missile Trade Control Regime (MTCR) was highlighted by Dr. Gregory Perepelitsa (Director, Institute of Foreign Policy, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kyiv, Ukraine).

Dr. Nikolai Sokov (Senior Fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation) having robust experience in disarmament and personally participating in negotiation process of START- 1 (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), disclosed an information on creation and development of missiles industry in Ukraine in the context of the Cold War and with particular focus on nuclear arms race and arms control.

Markus Schiller (Consultant in Schmucker Technologie, consulting company for high technology projects and applications, with focus on analysis and evaluation of missile and space programes), in his presentation revealed the way of identifying missile proliferation lines by characteristic of technical details. This information was based on his last year research on the North Korean Nuclear missile programme, which contains technical details of all aspects of the North Korean Nuclear missile threat.

Despite distinct attention to missile topics, some nuclear non-proliferation aspects were soundly covered as well. Polina Sinovets (Associate Professor, the Department of International Relations, Institute of Social Sciences, Odessa National University) delivered comprehensive lecture about three ‘pillars’ of the NPT and non-proliferation regime at large. Moreover, she also touched upon one of the biggest current challenges for the non-proliferation regime – Iranian nuclear program. This topic prompted lively debate in the audience.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) case was actively discussed from the different prospective. From the theoretical and historical perspective Dr. Serhiy Galaka (Professor of Institute of international relations of the Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University) presented full-fledged information on this topic. In the same time, Nikita Perfilyev (External Relations Officer, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)) gave a presentation on the contribution of the CTBT to international peace and security, as well as on the prospects for the entry force of the CTBT. He also discussed announced nuclear test by the DPRK and their detection by the CTBTO’s verification system.

Robert Kelley (Associated Senior Research Fellow within the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Nuclear Weapons Project, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme) as the former director of Iraq Action Team of the International Atomic Energy Agency, stressed in his presentations main attention to his personal experiences in special nuclear non-proliferation cases, such as South Africa, DPRK, Iran, etc. For the young specialists and students these lectures were extremely inspirational.

In the framework of the School Nuclear security was considered as well. Elena Sokova (Executive Director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation) talked about illicit trafficking of nuclear materials and connection to nuclear terrorism. Also, she revealed information about individual cases with nuclear materials involvement. The presentation about investigation of illicit trafficking cases by application nuclear forensics was discussed by Vitaly Fedchenko (Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme). Ukrainian practice in the nuclear security sphere was presented by Dmytro Cherkashyn (Teacher at the Operation and Physical Protection of NPP’s Faculty at Sevastopol National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry (SNUNEI)).

This Summer School is a well-structured training platform for specialists in nuclear field. Throughout the program the presentations covered all aspects of the nuclear and missile proliferation issues, thus participants were able to achieve comprehensive understanding of the addressed problematic. Among participants were representatives of the government sector as well. Particular interest towards the School was stressed by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine. Since the first Odessa Summer school the experts from this Institution actively have been engaged.

“The topics of this Summer School in Odessa, in particular, the current system of export control in Ukraine, regional non-proliferation challenges, nuclear energy and security, will allow me to gain further knowledge into practice in my professional activities and broaden my horizons in the future. The knowledge I obtained at this Summer School will help me to improve my professional skills in this field.” (Igor Deryabin, Leading Specialist, State Inspector, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine in the Division on Safeguards).

Following the experts’ lectures discussions were extremely valuable for young specialists and students. It provided them with the perfect opportunities to obtain clear explanation on some complicated issues.

“Summer School in Odessa, as always, has left a lot of pleasant impressions and helped to acquire useful knowledge in the field of non-proliferation. I would like to express my high gratitude to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and Odessa Mechnikov National University for organizing this event. As being present here, we have a wonderful opportunity to communicate with world-class experts, which is also a major motivating factor for self-development. In addition, according to the experts themselves, they also have much to learn from communicating with younger generation. The result that we get is a magnificent event with great information and emotional content to which you want to return again and again.” (Lozova Valeriia, Student, the Department of International Relations, Institute of Social Sciences, Odessa National University).

One of the features of this School is that organizers try to concatenate technical aspects of non-proliferation with political ones and visa-versa. This synergetic affect gave comprehensive understanding of different elements of non-proliferation regime. Interactions between participants with different background stipulated effective exchange of experience and knowledge.

“This school is a good chance to understand the today’s ongoing issues in the non-proliferation domain and, in this context, the opinions of the sophisticated international experts in this sphere are of great importance. There were number of lectures which have shown us the different challenges in the non-proliferation sphere, both in the regional, as well as in the global levels. The topics covering some technical aspects and interesting controversial moments were extremely helpful to obtain a comprehension of various non-proliferation aspects.” (Koycheva Anna, Student, the Department of International Relations, Institute of Social Sciences, Odessa National University)

Website date of posting 02/09/2013